How did changes in ecology and population affect you at the individual level?
Being among the people recruited by the English men to move to the new world, I arrived at a land next to North Carolina in the company of the other recruits. Our leader, John White, left us few weeks to find more survival supplies and bring more recruits. He came back later, a more extended period than expected because the war in Spain had barred him. The new land was deserted. I was used to being around many people (Steinberg 29). I was so lonely; no one around was familiar with me, neither was I. It was the first challenge I faced in that place. The area also lacked a single plantation that I could survive on. White had thought there was a considerable presence of it until he came back to find no plants or a single colonist. I knew from this point that drought was going to be a significant setback around that place. Its climate was not farming friendly as I had expected. Another challenge I encountered was extreme climatic conditions, which were brought about by the combination of cold air from the Arctic, and warm air from the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in turbulent conditions such as tornadoes, droughts and floods. They were so severe that my health was affected adversely. My physique changed immediately because of climatic variations. Body illness became a norm in that place. There was an outbreak of diseases such as typhoid, amoeba due to the contamination of the little available water. Malaria also became prevalent in the warm area.
Also, water scarcity forced me to drink very salty water, too much concentrated than the one recommended for human consumption, resulting in salt poisoning. From the view of climate that I had in mind, the new land shocked me. I knew the latitudes were the same; hence, the climatic conditions. Staying around the Europeans also made me prone to smallpox, which they had immunity over, having experienced it since their childhood.
How did changes in economic and social organisation affect you at the individual?
Socializing with Europeans affected my cultural practices. Their ways of life were very different from mine. The issue of ownership was a surprise to me. Grabbing land and taking it for themselves was so unfamiliar to me. I was used to a life where everything was owned communally, not individually. European religious practices differed with ours. The economic conditions also changed. Poverty stroke as there were no commodities to sell apart from the animals that Europeans hunted for fur. I was not allowed to sell animal products; hence, the economic conditions deteriorated. For the whites, they prospered economically, given that they had huge markets that brought them significant returns.
Their language was also a factor that affected me. I could not comprehend what the natives were saying most of the times. They used their language to secretly give names to the possessions they grabbed in the new land. The language barrier made it difficult for me to be in unison with them. I also experienced the killing of wild animals. My origin did not support this act. Europeans did this to protect their livestock, which was being preyed on by wild ones. The action was slowly diminishing the wild family, something that was pride in my homeland. The fact that they did not worry affected my emotions and wellbeing. I felt that something was to be done, but unfortunately, I was helpless. The forest also suffered destruction, whereby trees were cut to pay for Europe’s commercial benefit and naval expansion. Accordingly, the deforestation affected us directly, given that it resulted in more prolonged periods of drought. Destroyed tree canopies allowed direct sunlight penetration, thus, keeping summer temperatures low. Besides, deforestation made the landscape more vulnerable to weather extremes, creating soils that in the summer were drier and less conducive to support crop production. The rivers dried up, and the roots that helped absorb and release water throughout the year were destroyed at the event of deforestation. Food became scarce; an issue that pained me every time.
What role did gender and ideas (religion, myth, science, literature, philosophy etc.) play in shaping your relationship with the environment?
Staying around the Europeans, however, helped me gain several ideas. From the activities we undertook every day, I was able to grasp a lot of knowledge, including the art of carpentry, handling guns, metallic kettles, operating machines that were used in the farms, livestock rearing, disease control and survival tactics. I also succeeded in learning their ways of life, starting from their religious believes, and how they viewed gender. The Europeans were not gendered biased, evident in the way they championed gender balance in the activities we did. My language also was sharpened, whereby I learnt different vocabularies that in the long run, helped me to communicate effectively. However much their philosophies differed from mine, I discovered about theirs. I got a hold on many ideas and managed to erase the mythical misconceptions I had heard about them.